Road runoff rule repairs Anti-pollution measures needed: Rebuilt roadways should include standards to protect water quality.

November 25, 1998

BUILD A new road and you must control water runoff pollution from the project. Rebuild a road, and such obvious water quality protections are not required.

That's a legal pothole that needs to be filled. The question of who should pay for the project is another matter, but the pollutant controls must be established.

Take the recent dispute in Westminster, where city officials and Carroll County commissioners are arguing over whether to include a needed storm water management system in the reconstruction of Lucabaugh Mill Road.

During heavy rains, chemicals such as salt and fuel, plus eroded soil from the shoulders, pour into a stream that supplies the public water system that serves county and city residents.

Carroll officials will spend nearly $160,000 to repair the road and install runoff drainage -- if the city of Westminster kicks in $32,700 as its share. Otherwise, the county will pay only $86,350 to repave the road, without drainage safeguards. There's a deadline of Dec. 1, when contractor bids expire.

The principal concern is that neither state nor county regulations require fixing the storm water pollution problem. Although the quarter-mile stretch of Lucabaugh Mill Road is to be raised and resurfaced, it isn't covered by environmental rules for a new road.

The county points out that Westminster has not sought to correct the long-standing runoff problem. Westminster notes that the affected roadway is on county, not city, land.

This local problem may soon be resolved, perhaps with new bids. But it is a problem that is sure to arise in other Maryland jurisdictions. A state rule requiring pollution abatement for any roadway construction would help to remove this bump in the road.

Pub Date: 11/25/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.